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The Republican ticket did seem to go out of its way to acknowledge the aftermath of the deadly storm, with screens at Romney's rally urging donors to give to the Red Cross.

"We love all of our fellow citizens, we come together in times like this and we want to make sure they have a speedy recovery," Romney said.

The Republican presidential candidate scrubbed his stump speech of direct attack on Obama, who continues to coordinate the federal response from Washington.

Ryan also softened his tone at an event earlier in the day in Wisconsin, tailoring his remarks to tout the Republican economic plan and blaming both political parties for having added to the federal debt. As Romney did, Ryan also took time to acknowledge those in the path of the storm.

"Being that we're here near the banks of the Mississippi, not too far from there, we've had our share of natural disasters, but we don't have hurricanes. We've turned on the TV and we've seen the devastation. Let's keep the people of the Northeast in our prayers today," Ryan said.